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Project background

Vanuatu remains one of the world’s least developed countries, despite being one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Pacific Islands. Three-quarters of Vanuatu’s population live in rural areas and remote islands, where it can be difficult to access education, healthcare and earn an income.

In Vanuatu, women and girls remain marginalised from community leadership roles. This leaves them more vulnerable to the effects of poverty as they are often prevented from making significant decisions regarding their own well-being.

High rates of violence against women and girls are prevalent in Vanuatu. 60% of all women in Vanuatu are survivors of physical and or sexual violence. 31% of women nationally, and as high as 46% of women in CARE’s project sites, reported being sexually abused before they were 15 years old. Women and girls are especially disadvantaged, as they are prevented from making decisions about their own lives, home and community.

Additionally, violence against women and girls rises during an emergency. Women are at increased risk of violence during emergencies, due to a variety of reasons including a breakdown of law and order, stress due to a loss of livelihood that can exacerbate existing gender inequality, and the fact that women often have to venture far from safety to fetch water.

Vanuatu is more vulnerable to natural disasters than any other country in the world. When Tropical Cyclone Pam hit in 2015, violence against women and girls dramatically increased. This project has been designed to directly tackle the link between poverty, violence and natural disasters in order to keep women and girls safe.

Project aims

In Vanuatu, Leftemap Sista means 'lifting up our women and girls' which is exactly what the project aims to do. Now in its second stage, the Leftemap Sista II project will work with the most vulnerable women and girls in the Tafea Province of Vanuatu to achieve the following:

  • Work with men and women to challenge social norms and increase women’s leadership
  • Provide training to improve respect and equality in relationships
  • Improve community services for women and girls
  • Improve women’s income through farming

What's covered in project cost

Funding towards this project will support CARE to:

  • Lead community sensitisation sessions on the importance of women and girls’ leadership.
  • Support graduates of the Finding Your Voice program – which aims to support young, aspiring young Ni-Vanuatu female leaders to find their voice and be heard on matters which affect them – to set up women’s groups in neighbouring villages to share their learnings.
  • Deliver Good Relationships Free from Violence (GRFV) training across five communities. This training aims to promote greater understanding of gender equality and helps women realise their right to live free from violence, access economic opportunities and participate meaningfully in decisions that affect their lives.
  • Conduct Family Financial Management workshops to boost family’s income and promote cooperation between men and women in managing their finances.
  • Continue to upskill project staff and trainers to better deliver and educate on topics like Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) including referral pathways for support.
  • Continue to work collaboratively with national partners to implement gender training to technical/service organisations, and support the co-delivery of women’s leadership programs.
  • Support Women’s Economic Livelihood (WEL) groups with CARE’s Financial Management Training.
  • Introduce Village Savings and Loans Association methodologies to help women to increase their financial skills, gain access to and control over resources and generate economic opportunities and income.

Partners and community involvement

CARE will share its expertise and the Leftemap Sista II model and approach, extending the project’s reach and impact more broadly in the Pacific region.

CARE has identified local organisations to partner with in Fiji, Tonga and the Solomon Islands seeking to advance their work in gender equality. CARE will conduct capacity assessments to identify that local organisations we partner with, have the necessary expertise, capacity and assets to implement activities effectively in their contexts.

CARE will work within the existing capacity of our local partner organisations to identify ways to replicate Leftemap Sista II within local contexts. Capacity building will be provided through workshops, resource sharing, coaching and mentoring and actively encouraging learning by doing.

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